Roger Federer, one of the world’s most decorated male tennis athletes, will play the last game of his professional career at the Laver Cup in London on Friday.
The 41-year-old Swiss player, renowned for his graceful one-handed backhand, began playing tennis at the age of eight, rising to become one of tennis history’s greatest players. He has won 103 ATP Tour titles, including 20 Grand Slams.
In a statement shared on his social media on September 15, Federer said, “I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamed, and now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.”
Key dates of illustrious career
- In 1995, aged 14, Federer was accepted by the national development programme of Swiss Tennis.
- In 1998, he made his debut at the Swiss Open as a pro player.
- In 2000, Federer competed at the Olympic Games in Sydney, where he reached the semi-finals and met his wife Mirka Vavrinec.
- In 2003, he won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and in 2004 he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It was also in 2004 that Federer became world number one in tennis – holding the position for 237 weeks until 2008.
- In 2006, Federer reached the final of all four Grand Slams, winning three of them.
- In 2009, he captured his 15th Grand Slam, beating the previous record held by Pete Sampras, from the United States. In the same year, he married Vavrinec and welcomed the birth of twins.
- In 2018, Federer won his 20th Grand Slam title.
Federer compared with tennis greats
Though experienced on many surfaces, Federer is known for being a tour de force at Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam event played on grass. He won eight of his 20 Grand Slam titles there, surpassing Sampras’s record of seven.
Compared with other male tennis players, Federer has the third most Grand Slam titles behind Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who holds 22, and Serbian Novak Djokovic with 21.
Federer has appeared in 31 Grand Slam finals, one behind Djokovic with 32. Federer’s last Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 2019, where he narrowly lost to Djokovic in a five-set match that lasted just under five hours.
Federer has held the number one ranking in men’s tennis for a total of 310 weeks, behind Djokovic who has spent 373 weeks at number one. From 2004 to 2008, Federer held the number one ranking for 237 consecutive weeks.
Of the players currently still on tour, Federer has won the most ATP Tour singles titles with 103 under his belt. Nadal has won 92 and Djokovic 88.
Federer’s play in numbers
With a career spanning more than 1,500 games, Federer has some of the best statistics in tennis history, including:
- 11,478 aces
- 18,872 service games
- 89 percent of service games won
- 18,475 return games played
- 27 percent of return games won
In 2003, the tennis superstar established the Roger Federer Foundation with the aim of helping children living in poverty in African countries to receive an education.
According to the foundation, it has spent $70.5m on initiatives providing physical and financial assistance at 9,300 primary schools and preschools.
Reaction to retirement
Athletes from around the world heaped praise on Federer following the announcement of his retirement.
“I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.
“We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that. For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you.”
Dear Roger,my friend and rival.
I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world.
It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court 👇🏻
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 15, 2022
“Roger it’s hard to see this day and put into words all that we’ve shared in this sport together. Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on. Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise.
“It’s an honour to know you on and off court, and for many years to come. I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to.
“From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future.”
“I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career.
“I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget.
“Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! Wish you all the luck in the world for what comes next!”
“I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you are for our sport. It’s been a privilege to witness your career. I wish you all the best.”
“What a career, Roger Federer. We fell in love with your brand of tennis. Slowly, your tennis became a habit. And habits never retire, they become a part of us. Thank you for all the wonderful memories.”
“Congratulations on a brilliant career.”
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) September 15, 2022